Now that Colinton Castle is holding regular BBO tournaments, it is worth formalising our guidelines for these events. These broadly follow SBU guidance, with some adjustments to reflect our club’s ethos of friendly and competitive play. The guidelines below will not be imposed in a draconian manner. However, if they are all followed, then it should enhance the enjoyment of everyone playing in our tournaments. Also shown below are a few helpful hints for playing on BBO.
Visitors: Anyone who has not played before in a Colinton Castle tournament must send their details – name, BBO username and SBU number – to David Nisbet (firstname.lastname@example.org) ahead of the event so that their details can be added to our ‘Include List’ of players eligible to play in our events. Note that a visitor must be a member of the SBU. The Saturday afternoon tournaments will be open to all guests, friends and visitors. The Tuesday evening events will be focused on Colinton Castle and Pentland members; visitors will be allowed by request or when partnering a Colinton Castle member.
Payment: Under the agreement between BBO and the SBU, we must charge for our tournaments. The probable charge will be BBO $2 per person. A player must have sufficient funds in their BBO account to cover the cost of the tournament before registering.
Registration: Pairs can register up until 10 minutes before a tournament is due to start, although it would be helpful if entry is earlier. Registration will then close. Please ensure that you are online at least 5 minutes before the tournament is scheduled to start.
Start of Each Round: Each pair must describe their bidding and discard system at the start of each round.
Alerts: Each player must alert all their own conventional bids and explain them. If an opponent wants an explanation of a bid or clarification of an alerted bid, then they can click on the bid and the bidder must type in an explanation. Unlike face-to-face bridge, alerts are required at all levels of bidding (i.e., also for conventional bids above the 3 level). For example, all 4NT bids should be alerted to say if they are Blackwood, RKC 3041 or RKC 1430 and the responses to 4NT should also be alerted.
Undos: Undos are allowed in bidding, but not in play. Opponents must accept a request for an Undo. However, Undos can be requested only for a genuine mis-click and not for a change of mind. If opponents suspect that the latter is the case, then they should summon the Tournament Director at the end of the board. The Tournament Director will make a ruling and may adjust the score for the board.
Timing: Colinton Castle allows 7 minutes for each board. Please try to keep within this allotted time for each board throughout the round: if, for example, the last board is started only 4 minutes from the end of the round, then this is extremely unfair on the declarer of that hand. This is an important point and there have been several complaints already because of this.
If a board is unfinished at the end of a round, then the score will be automatically decided by the BBO software. This score may be adjusted by the Tournament Director. If you disagree with the awarded score, then you may appeal to the Tournament Director.
Note that BBO records the time taken by each player for every bid and every single play; this record is available to the Tournament Director and can be downloaded up until 20 minutes after the finish of the tournament. Persistent slow play within a tournament or during several tournaments can, therefore, be monitored. The Tournament Director may consider awarding Average Minus scores to regular slow players.
The timing for a particular round may be extended at the discretion of the Tournament Director if a player has suffered a lengthy disconnection or if there has been a protracted discussion with the Tournament Director over a ruling.
Robots: If an odd number of pairs register for an event, then a pair of robots will be introduced. Players have the option of playing against the robots or sitting out the round. In either case, players will be awarded an average score for each board. Please remain logged in to BBO if sitting out.
Courtesy: Please do not chat to your partner about boards from a previous round; this is discourteous and annoying to your present-round opponents. Also, chat messages to the table in the middle of a round should be kept brief. Longer chats should be left to the waiting time at the end of a round. Obviously, please always be polite and friendly to your opponents (and partner).
Kibitzers: Silent kibitzers are allowed.
Chats to Tournament: It will not be possible for players to send Chat messages to the whole tournament.
BBO Helpful Hints
Buying BBO $s: If you use a device such as an iPad or phone to access BBO there are two ways to access BBO - either by logging on via the website or by downloading the BBO app. If you use the app and try to buy BBO $s, the app will automatically do this via Apple i-tunes or Google Play depending on your type of mobile device. Apple and Google both charge a premium for buying BBO $s, though nothing warns you this is the case.
If you try to buy BBO $s on a mobile device and are not given an option of how to pay, then you will be using the app. You should log in via website, and you will be given the option of paying by card or PayPal and this is a much cheaper way!
Describing Your Bidding System at the start of each round: Arguably, the easiest way to do this is to type a description of your system onto the chat line before the event starts, then copy it by highlighting the message and pressing Control and C simultaneously (or pressing Command and C if using a MacBook). At the start of each round, paste the message into the chat line (move cursor onto the chat line and press Control and V simultaneously) and then send it to the Table. An alternative is to save your chat message in your Chat Manager and send it to the table at the start of each round.
Summoning the Tournament Director: Do this by clicking on the three horizontal bars on the top left-hand side of the screen and then clicking on the appropriate option.